Frosts can cause several problems for gardener, killing plants, damaging lawns, and stunting the growth of certain shrubs.
With this in mind, Josh Novell, gardening expert and director of Polhill, has outlined the best ways to prepare your garden for a frost.
Josh said: “Dealing with frost is an annual battle that every gardener faces, and while some damage is almost inevitable, there are several easy methods you can deploy to significantly reduce the impact it has on your plants and lawn.
“Frost doesn’t have to undo all of the hard work you have done throughout the year in your garden, and taking some time to prepare your outdoor space in the right way before the temperatures drop will make your life a lot easier come the spring.”
Mulch and protect delicate plants
Gardeners need to cover the base of fragile plants with a thick layer of organic mulch, such as leaves or straw, to protect them against frost damage.
Mulching will maintain the soil’s temperature and help shield the roots from any harm. For added protection, gardeners can wrap plants up with old bed linens or frost cloths.
Trim and prune
Before the first frost, gardeners should prune their garden to help lower the chances of any illness and damage. Get rid of any sick or dead branches and stems to improve airflow and avoid moisture from accumulating.
Watering and hydration
Before the first frost, make sure plants get enough water. A day or two before an expected frost, give the soil a thorough watering as moist soil holds heat better than dry soil.
On the other hand, gardeners should refrain from watering plants in the late evening as they may freeze and become more damaged.
Move potted plants indoors
Potted plants are more susceptible to frost damage so gardeners need to ensure they bring them indoors or put them in a covered space like a shed or garage.
Potted plants should be grouped and covered with blankets or bubble wrap to give them additional insulation if they can’t be brought indoors.
Wrap up tree trunks
Frost fractures can occur in young trees with thin bark. To avoid this, wrap the trunk up with hessian or tree wrap. By covering it, the tree is shielded from potentially harmful excessive temperature swings by this covering.
Gardeners can use bubble wrap or specialised container coverings to insulate pots in huge outdoor containers that are too heavy to move elsewhere. By insulating pots, it’s less likely there will be temperature fluctuations that might harm the plant’s roots.
Check for pests
Check your plants for pests like aphids, spider mites and scale insects before winter arrives as these pests have the ability to weaken plants and increase their vulnerability to frost damage. To maintain the health of the plant, make sure to treat the infestations as needed.
Clean garden tools and equipment
Now is the time to properly clean and store garden tools and equipment before the first frost.
Wipe down tools and apply a light coat of oil to protect them from rust. Store them in a dry, sheltered area to prolong their life and effectiveness.
Prepare your lawn
A well-maintained lawn is more resilient to frost. When mowing grass for the last time before winter, lower the blade to its lowest setting. This will help prevent disease and reduce the risk of mould and rot that can develop during cold, wet conditions. Additionally, avoid heavy foot traffic on the grass when it’s frozen, as this can cause damage.